CONCORD, N.H. (AP/CBS Hartford) — The Senate has voted to study whether people with serious illnesses should be allowed to grow marijuana at home rather than wait for dispensaries to open under New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law.

The Senate voted Thursday without debate to study the House bill that allows qualified N.H. patients and caregivers to grow their own marijuana, placing the bill on hiatus.  That same bill swiftly passed the House with a vote of 227-73 earlier this year.

Last year, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that allowed seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes exclusively.  Lawmakers considered including a home-grow provision in that same bill but took it out at Gov. Maggie Hassan’s insistence that she would veto the bill otherwise.

Under the bill, licensed patients could possess up to two mature plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. They had to report their cultivation locations to the state and lost cultivation rights once a dispensary opened within 30 miles of their home.

Supporters have argued that patients who qualify under the new law to use marijuana should not have to wait for the state to implement systems of regulated cultivation and distribution.

Gov. Hassan has been vocal in her arguments against marijuana decriminalization.  In a State of the State address earlier this year, Gov. Hassan stated, “Legalizing marijuana won’t help us address our substance use challenge. Experience and data suggests it will do just the opposite.”

Aside from Gov. Hassan, arguments have also been heard from the Department of Safety and the New Hampshire State Police.

Currently, other states in the New England area, such as Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, are allowed to legally grow their own cannabis.  In Connecticut, marijuana use is legal for medical purposes, but not yet sold.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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